Do I Have a Nasal Valve Collapse?

It has been 6.5 weeks since my surgery, and I have been having difficulty breathing ever since. When I inhale through my nose, both of my nostrils start to cave in, and when I exhale and blow my nose it swells up like a balloon. Sometimes it is not as noticeable as other times, and the nose itself looks fine, except the nostrils seems really pinched in. Could this just be swelling or is it something more severe? Also, is a nasal valve collapse and easy fix or not?

Doctor Answers 4

It is possible

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External nasal valve collapse can happen. Even though it is important to let things settle, especially in the nose, before a 2ry procedure (1-3 months at least), these issues seldom resolve with time. A revision is usually needed with cartilage grafts to improve this. Good luck.  Dr Sarraga

Aventura Plastic Surgeon

Nasal valve problem could be the issue but it's a bit early to tell.

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What you describe sounds very much like damage to the internal nasal valve. However six weeks it's much too early to make a diagnosis.

Nasal valve collapse

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A number of rhinoplasties do end up with collapse of their nasal valves, but at 6 weeks it is much too early to tell.  Even a mild degree of residual swelling inside your nose could produce the effect you are seeing.  Be patient and follow up with your surgeon during your one year recovery period.

Douglas J. Kibblewhite, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Nasal valve collapse can occur after reduction rhinoplasty

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Without examining you, it is difficult for me to say whether or not you developed nasal valve collapse as the result of surgery.  Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon complication of rhinoplasty, particularly in cases in which the tip cartilages are trimmed, divided, and/or sewn together in order to narrow the tip. If you feel that there is a clear and significant drop in your breathing at this point compared to before surgery and the swelling inside the nose has cleared up, you may have developed this problem.  Nasal valve collapse can definately be corrected, but would require a revision surgery. The first thing to do is to express your concern to your surgeon and allow him or her to examine you and assess the situation.

The link below is to an educational video I created about nasal valve surgery.

David W. Kim, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.